The Rockets announced Sunday that Kyle Lowry will miss between two and four weeks with a bacterial infection. Goran Dragic will post big numbers for however long Lowry is out, and he could help push h2h owners into their league's finals if Lowry is out the full four weeks. Dragic totaled 43 points, eight threes, and 16 assists over the past two games, pushing his averages in 12 career starts to 14.2 points on 49-percent shooting, 1.8 threes, 5.3 boards, 7.5 assists, and 1.3 steals. The usual terms and conditions apply here when it comes to handling Lowry. If he needs only two weeks of recovery, then he'll return at the start of the default h2h playoffs and with five weeks remaining in the NBA regular season, so that represents plenty of time to impact fantasy fortunes. If you are in danger of missing the playoffs and your league's trade deadline with this past Thursday, then you don't have many options outside of cutting Lowry for an active player (preferably Dragic). Otherwise, you have to weigh the potential risk/reward for making a move with what is still a fairly wide-open timetable for his return to the Rockets' active roster.
• A torn left ACL ended Ricky Rubio's stellar rookie season. It's a huge loss for fantasy owners, T-Wolves fans, and NBA fans in general. Minnesota will move forward with Luke Ridnour at the point, and he now warrants universal ownership (43 minutes, 14 points, 10 assists on Saturday). J.J. Barea has been sidelined by an ankle injury but is expected to return on either Monday or Thursday and, if/when healthy, will see a very steady 25-plus minutes. Martell Webster joined the T-Wolves' starting five on Saturday but did little with his minutes (24 minutes, 1-5 FG, 0-2 3PT, 7 boards). Webster has some deep-league relevance based on the starting gig, but his ups-and-downs and the team's wing rotation limits any potential upside. The Timberwolves continue to show interest in Jamal Crawford - they have even more need for another guard now that Rubio is out, but now they can't deal Ridnour, as the trade was originally constructed. Speculation here is that a three-team trade could be consummated that gets Crawford to Minnesota, and he'd see serious run at shooting guard if the move goes down.
• Evan Turner's transition to the 76ers' starting five has been, in a word, successful. The team has won three in a row, outscoring the opposition by an average of 104-85, with Turner averaging 40 minutes, 22 points on 60-percent shooting, 85-percent foul shooting, and 12 boards. Those defensive rebounds are being converted into quality transition looks, as are the consistent steals and blocks that the 76ers are coming up with. Andre Iguodala's numbers have gone through the roof in the three games, and include 13 points on 63-percent shooting, 7 boards, 8.7 assists, 1.3 turnovers, and 2.3 steals in 35 minutes. Another upgrade for Elton Brand, who has averaged 13 points on 55-percent shooting, 8.7 boards, and 2.3 blocks in 31 minutes. Jrue Holiday's line has been a mix of bad (36% FG, 50% FT) and good (1.3 threes, 4.3 assists, 2.3 steals). Those percentages have been flukey-bad and should correct, so there's reason for optimism - per HoopData, Holiday has successfully converted just three of 19 shots (16%) within nine feet, compared to 45% on the season. As for Turner's position eligibility - Doug Collins said that Turner is a point guard, but he's not the Sixers' point guard, as that's still technically Holiday's designation.
• Wilson Chandler's ideal scenario is a one-year deal from the Nuggets that sends him into the off-season as an unrestricted free agent, but the Nuggets have interest in nothing but signing him long-term. Chandler has set this Friday as a deadline for working out a contract - if no deal has been reached, he'll likely sign with a team overseas and pick things back up as a restricted free agent this coming off-season. Chandler and his agent say that he is interested in locking in a long-term deal with the Nuggets right now, but you have to figure it will take a fairly impressive deal to get him to sign, given that waiting will allow him to eventually negotiate additional offers and truly test his market value. Chandler is down to 11-percent ownership, and for good reason - this remains a 50-50 proposition, at best, but at least we now have a deadline in place.
• Mike Dunleavy officially appears to be a big part of Scott Skiles' rotation. He's played less than 30 minutes just once over his past seven games, averaging 15.4 points on 46-percent shooting, 2 threes, 4.9 boards, 3.4 assists, and 1.1 steals in 34 minutes during that stretch. Those numbers have quietly been good for a top-40 return and Dunleavy remains unrostered in the vast majority of leagues (26% owned). The Shaun Livingston experiment is largely over and Tobias Harris is a starter in name only, meaning that Dunleavy's run of extended playing time has a very good chance to stick.
• We could see Gerald Green emerge with a substantial role for the Nets down the stretch, given that the other option for the team is a gimpy DeShawn Stevenson playing out an expiring contract. Green went nuts against the Rockets on Saturday, scoring 26 points in 24 minutes (10-15 FG, 4-8 3PT) and serving up this jaw-dropping highlight. Green spent the early part of the season scoring efficiently in the D-League, most notably via 46-percent shooting from three-point range. Green will be among the most added players on Tuesday if he has another notable performance on Monday night, so proactive deep-league owners will want to consider getting on board right now.
• Status updates: Deron Williams (calf) is out again Monday, but the Nets are hopeful that he'll be able to return on Wednesday .. Al Jefferson missed Monday's shootaround because of a personal matter and will be a game-time decision .. Stephen Curry has played an average of 13 minutes over the past two games, but Mark Jackson said the team won't shut him down because the team sees his numerous injuries as "freak twists and tweaks" .. Rudy Gay has been diagnosed with a slight concussion and is questionable for Tuesday. The NBA's protocol for returning from concussions can be found here .. Tony Parker (quad) will play on Monday .. Upon further review, Luol Deng won't play through his increasing wrist pain. Deng was held out Saturday and will sit again on Monday, but it remains "possible" that he'll return on Wednesday .. Joakim Noah (flu) will play on Monday .. Jose Calderon (ankle) will travel with the Raptors and the team is hopeful that he'll play at some point on their five-game road trip .. Kevin Martin (shoulder) will be a game-time decision on Tuesday .. Anderson Varejao won't have his wrist re-evaluated until next week .. Emeka Okafor remains out indefinitely with a mystery knee ailment .. Jason Richardson (ankle) is expected to be sidelined on both Tuesday and Wednesday .. Doug Collins is hopeful that Spencer Hawes will be able to practice on Tuesday and play "a little" on Wednesday ..
• Scanning the Buzz Index leaders: Isaiah Thomas has now averaged 9.8 points on 39-percent shooting, 1.6 threes, 2.8 assists, and 1.8 steals in 24 minutes over his past five games, so I'm getting closer to losing faith myself. But he's still the starter here and packing in per-minute production, so don't make a move here just to do it .. Caron Butler appears to have outlived his fantasy usefulness for the season. He's fringey enough at 125th on the season in per-game rank, but that falls to 189th over the past 30 days (9.9 points, 35% FG, 1.2 threes, 0.5 steals). Butler's perceived value (76% owned) well out-paces his actual return .. Alonzo Gee has now averaged 13.6 points on 49-percent shooting, 1.2 threes, 5.6 boards, 2 steals, and 0.6 blocks as the Cavs' starting small forward, and the Cavs have the most games over the season's final six weeks (24). I dropped Steve Novak for Gee in a standard h2h league early Monday .. Kenneth Faried has been a fine per-minute contributor over the past three games (19 minutes, 7.3 points, 6.3 boards, 1 steal, 0.7 blocks) but has been in foul trouble (4 fouls per) and Al Harrington isn't going anywhere. I want to be overly-optimistic here, but it's impossible.